The Workers Union of ArcelorMittal in collaboration with the National Workers Union of Liberia has strongly condemned the layoff Liberians in the employ of the company.
In mass meeting held with affected workers on the grounds of the ArcelorMittal Hospital over the weekend, the unions noted that amidst discussions being held between the workers union, the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labor and the company, the management ignored the talks and executed its redundancy plan.
In that meeting, a communication written to ArcelorMittal Liberia by the Labor Ministry dated March 3, 2015 was read, calling for a halt to the redundancy until all concessions were made to the satisfaction of both parties.
However, during the meeting it was resolved that all letters issued by ArcelorMittal management to workers be handed over to the ArcelorMittal Workers Union deputy secretary general, who will return same to the Human Resource Department of the company as a sign of protest and advised that no affected employee should receive package from the bank.
The company has reportedly redundant 190 employees, amounting to 16 percent of the workforce. The action is being attributed to decline in the price of iron ore on the world market.
Making the disclosure via telephone on a live radio talk show over the weekend, Corporate Communications Manager, Madam Hester Baker Pearson, said the redundancy was done in line with the laws of Liberia.
Madam Pearson disclosed that after the tripartite meetings ended on April 2, 215 between the Workers Union, Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal, 20 percent of the workforce should had been redundant, but management after careful scrutiny, reduced it to 16 percent.
She also disclosed that during negotiations, all demands brought forward by the Workers Union were addressed appropriately, including the cancellation of the helicopter contract and 30 percent reduction of expatriates and that it was now time for the Liberian employees.
The Corporate Communications Manager said for ArcelorMittal to remain operational and competitive in the world these steps had to be taken.
She pointed out that each of the affected workers received salaries for a month and half for the number of years they had worked and all letters issued were received by them. Editing by Jonathan Browne